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Board of Directors & Staff

The Board

The Washington State Horse park is governed by an eleven member board comprised of individuals representing the horse community from various disciplines and geographic regions. The Board positions are filled by those who are passionate about realizing the Park's mission and who are willing to serve using his or her skills to improve Park operations.

State Charter and Leadership

In 1995 the Legislature authorized the Washington State Horse Park legislation which states, in part: "Establishing a first-class Horse Park facility in Washington would meet important needs of the state's horse industry, attract investment, enhance recreational opportunities, and bring new exhibitors and tourists to the state from throughout the region and beyond. A unique opportunity exists to form a partnership between state, county, and private interests to create a major horse park facility that will provide public recreational opportunities and statewide economic and employment benefits."

The complete legislation is in the State Charter document; its key provisions for leadership and direction are outlined below.


The legislation established the Washington State Horse Park Authority (“the Authority”), with an eleven member volunteer board of directors. The Authority is responsible for developing, promoting, operating, managing and maintaining the Horse Park. The legislation provides that the governor appoint board members from across the state experienced in different horse disciplines, activities and professions that compliment the development and operational needs of the Horse Park. Also included are a representative from the Washington State Parks Commission and a director who represents the local interests of the community where the Horse Park is located.

The Authority Board is supported by an Executive Director, Leslie Thurston, who provides day-to-day guidance, coordination and administration for their activities. See Staff


TODD TREWIN – PRESIDENT Todd represented the US in the sport of eventing as a member of the US Olympic team in Barcelona, Spain in 1992. Today Todd runs an active training program, competes locally, and designs/builds cross country courses. He and his wife Tracey operate their own boarding and training property in Carnation.

MITCH WILLIAMS – VICE PRESIDENT and KITTITAS COUNTY REPRESENTATIVE Mitch owned MF Williams Construction Company for 35 years and was a state director with the Building Industry Association of WA. He has competed in reining and cutting and is a 20-year member of Ellensburg Rodeo Gold Buckle club. He, his wife Julie and their family live on their ranch in Ellensburg.

MARK ENGLIZIAN--SECRETARY Mark is a seasoned organization leader with non-profit boards and has 30 years of experience as a human resources executive in the retail, technology, and hospitality industries. Mark and his wife Carol live in Kittitas County where they ride recreationally.

STEVEN BRAND Steve brings years of State Parks experience with almost three decades in park operations and planning. In his current role, Steve works with a variety of partner organizations including the Bridle Trails Foundation and Lake Washington Saddle Club. Steve and his wife Christy live in the Olympia area.

MARIA DANIELLI Raised on a horse boarding farm in Bellevue, Maria has shown in multiple disciplines including western pleasure, reining, and on the Arabian circuit. Maria enjoys her career as a realtor specializing in equestrian properties and country estates in King and Snohomish counties.

TOM DENT – STATE REPRESENTATIVE Tom has been a professional pilot since 1976 following a career in rodeo and as a working cowboy. He participates in many professional and community organizations in addition to serving as a state representative. He and his wife Dayna raise grass-fed beef, bison and hay on their ranch in Moses Lake.

KATHLEEN HORNER Kathleen brings more than 30 years of business leadership and marketing experience to the Board, and is an active community leader in Kittitas County. She and her husband Bryan retired to Cle Elum where she is very active in economic development and social services.

MICHELLE PAULSEN Michelle brings two decades of marketing and strategic communications experience, and was a partner in a land development and new construction business. Currently, she is engaged with the Arabian Horse Association as the Region 5 Director, and sits on the board of the Daffodil Arabian Horse Club.

JUDY WARNICK – STATE SENATOR Judy has shown English, dressage and western disciplines and served as a 4-H leader for 20 years in Grant County. In her free time, Judy and her husband, Roy, own five horses and a mule at their home in Moses Lake.

KIM WITTY Kim has lifelong experience with horses in ranching, roping and rodeo, and has won national titles in reined cow horse competitions. He and his wife Deb, who specializes in training and judging Arabian horses, operate their business in Ellensburg.

DENISE YOUELL Denise is owner and head trainer of Farpoint Farms, with her riders competing at the national level and winning many hunter/jumper, eventing and Welsh pony awards. For fun she also enjoys mountain trail, foxhunting and driving miniature horses.


The Horse Park is currently supported by a small paid staff consisting of a full-time Executive Director, full-time Marketing Coordinator, and part-time Administrator/Membership Coordinator. While the Park is open, we also employ grounds staff.

We rely on a network of valuable volunteers who provide their services in various ways – from Board membership to licking envelopes. The Horse Park will always be reliant on volunteers to help keep costs down and to obtain needed skills when and where needed. Please visit the Volunteering page to see what opportunities are most critical.


Leslie has been a corporate manager with responsibility for planning, new business development, investor relations and marketing. Her experience ranges from international assignments with major corporations to operating her own local company. She qualified for the national Medal finals in hunt seat equitation, and has competed in eventing and dressage.

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